The power supply cable to the computer begins to fall to pieces in my hands – the plastic coating sheds, revealing the tiny wires beneath. Then, the wires liquefy and pour through my fingers until all that is left is a sticky puddle on the carpet. I prod it with my toe and it is hot. I shall bury it beneath a pile of clothes when it cools in case anyone should come round and ask to borrow my power supply cable.
Joel R is a little boy. He cups something in his hands. He says, “Look.” And, as he opens his palms a strange and beautiful butterfly rises slowly into the space between us, as if it were some great and cumbersome vessel. It hovers in the air, sentient.
Graham T and I are sat on a sofa in the back of a removal van. The makings of someone’s home is stacked and rattling all around us. He is asking about the past. “And how about Sam? Did he ever change?”
I describe Sam F’s appearance (as I remember) to him. “He disappeared into his beard and he sawed the sleeves off a leather jacket. It suits him.” *
We climb out of the van and we are in a dense wood of birch trees. The sun falls in bright, thick rods through the canopy. Silver lichen shines on the crumbled bark and the moss is spongy beneath our feet. We begin to walk through the wood, the air is cool and soft, and occasionally a pigeon, unseen, above, coos. Eventually, a house appears. It is ramshackle, timber-framed, two storied.
Crouched in the undergrowth we watch two women stood chatting and giggling outside the house. They finish their cigarettes and walk toward the front door. One of them turns to the other and says something. Her lips are painted red, her mouth open in a silent phrase. The other nods and looks briefly over her shoulder and I see at once that they are Sharon & Sandra K – neither of whom I have seen or thought of since the early 1980s.
By the time that we get to the house the sisters have gone inside. The door is blue sheet metal with no apparent handle or bell. A man (in his 20s, dreadlocks, blue overalls, big teeth) steps out of the shadows of the trees. He asks what we want. “We want to see the K sisters. We’re friends from the past.”
He considers this. “Have you booked?”
And, of course, we haven’t. He sends us on our way, but suggests, should we care, that if we walk around the back of the house we will find a window where we might see them. “Don’t get seen,” he says. “They’re very busy.”
We are stood in the shadows of the trees. Sharon and Sandra K are on a sofa in a small box room, a bevy of girls sat at their feet. It is similar to the sofa GT and I sat on in the van (red, worn corduroy upholstery). Sharon’s hair bobs at her jawline as she speaks. Sandra’s hair is also as was – midway down her back, dark brown; the ends in need of a cut; dark rum coloured eyes; her skin is muted button mushroom – They are sat with their knees drawn up to their chins and though their legs are bare they wear matching black polo necks. Bracelets circle their wrists. They chat (the glass hiding all sound) with the others on the carpet; skin tone, slashes of lipstick, soft kohl, delicate silver metal, alcohol-sparkle, teeth. The rest of the room diminishes behind these details.
I want the two sisters to turn this way, look through the window, see me. And Sharon in fact does just this. She appears to stare straight into my eyes, but the glass and the light and the shadow disappear me to her, and I suspect all she sees is herself in reflection.
[ *I wake this morning to find a brief text from Sam F on my phone sent while I slept.]